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State v. Jama

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

March 5, 2018

State of Minnesota, Respondent,
v.
Mohamed Musa Jama, Appellant.

         Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CR-15-18329

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Susan L. Segal, Minneapolis City Attorney, Sarah Becker, Assistant City Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Rachel F. Bond, Assistant Public Defender, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Johnson, Judge; Cleary, Chief Judge; and Kirk, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         I. Indecent exposure is a general-intent crime.

         II. A defendant is not entitled to a jury instruction on the common-law defense of involuntary intoxication where it is impossible to ascertain the source of his intoxication.

          OPINION

          CLEARY, Chief Judge

         Appellant Mohamed Musa Jama challenges his conviction for gross misdemeanor indecent exposure on the grounds that the district court committed plain error by failing to instruct the jury on the requisite intent element of the crime and that the district court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on the statutory defense of voluntary intoxication and on the common-law defense of involuntary intoxication. We affirm.

         FACTS

         On July 5, 2015, appellant approached a family gathering in the front yard of a residence in Minneapolis, exposed his penis, and danced provocatively. Multiple family members, including three children under the age of 16, witnessed appellant's exposure. During the incident, witnesses attempted to stop appellant from exposing himself, videotaped appellant's conduct, called 911, and eventually removed him from the area in front of their home. When the police arrived, they encountered appellant in the street in front of the residence and arrested him.

         Appellant was charged with one count of indecent exposure in violation of Minn. Stat. § 617.23, subd. 2(1) (2014). Prior to the presentation of evidence, the defense made a series of motions stating its intent to rely on the statutory defense of voluntary intoxication and the common-law defense of involuntary intoxication. The district court determined that because indecent exposure is a general-intent crime, appellant was not entitled to an instruction on the statutory defense of voluntary intoxication. But the court ruled that the common-law defense of involuntary intoxication would still be available to appellant, provided he could make a prima facie showing on each element of the defense.

         At trial, witnesses testified that appellant exposed himself within five feet of their group during the incident. Video evidence of the incident was played for the jury. Multiple witnesses testified that appellant appeared to be intoxicated and nonresponsive. The arresting officer testified that appellant appeared to be "intoxicated and/or drugged." No tests were conducted to determine what, if any, substances appellant ingested prior to the incident.

         Appellant testified that, prior to the incident, he smoked what he believed to be shisha-a flavored tobacco consumed through a hookah-with some men he met that day. He testified that after smoking the substance, he felt dizzy and disoriented. His reaction to the substance intensified and he vomited, blacked out, and woke up in the jail hours later- with no recollection of the incident. Appellant testified that he never experienced a similar reaction to shisha in the past and was not under the influence of any other drugs or alcohol that day. At the conclusion of his testimony, appellant rested and requested that the jury receive the involuntary-intoxication instruction. The district court denied appellant's request for this instruction, finding that appellant failed to make a prima facie showing on any of the elements of the defense. Appellant moved for reconsideration and the district court heard the state's response ...


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